Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is widely used in baking. However, over the years our ingenious grandmothers discovered many frugal uses for this common household product.
If you’re like me, you probably already have a box of baking soda in your pantry for baking, one in your refrigerator to absorb odors, and another under your kitchen sink to use for cleaning.
What Exactly Is Baking Soda?
It’s 100 percent sodium bicarbonate, which can be used as a leavening agent in baked goods.
When mixed with an acid, baking soda reacts, making bubbles and giving off carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to rise. Anecdotal reports throughout history suggest that many civilizations used forms of baking soda when making bread and other foods that required rising.
In its natural form, baking soda is known as nahcolite, which is part of the natural mineral natron. Natron, which contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, has been used since ancient times. And no, you don’t need to get aluminum-free baking soda (you are confusing that with baking powder), as baking soda is already aluminum-free.
For instance, the Egyptians used natron as a soap for cleansing purposes. However, it wasn’t until 1846 that Dr. Austin Church and John Dwight began to manufacture and sell the compound we know as baking soda today. By the 1860s, baking soda was featured in published cookbooks but was still primarily known as a cooking additive. By the 1920s, however, its versatility was expanded on and by the 1930s it was widely advertised as a “proven medical agent.”
You can purchase a box of baking soda for under $3, making it one of the least expensive home remedies to keep on hand. In addition to using it for minor accidents and injuries, baking soda can become a part of your regular hygiene routine.
Health & Beauty
- Antiperspirant – to make your own, apply baking soda with a powder puff underarms.
- Bee Stings – to soothe the pain and draw out the stinger, apply a paste of baking
soda and water to the affected area.
- Breath – to freshen, gargle with 2 ounces of water mixed with ½ teaspoon baking soda.
- Bug Bites – to relieve itching, make a thick paste using water and baking soda. Apply the paste to the bite.
- Canker Sore – to relieve pain, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt in 1 cup of water. Gargle.
- Chicken Pox – to relieve itching, add ½ cup baking soda to a lukewarm bath.
- Colds – to relieve stuffy head and nose, use vapor disks in your shower made with 2 cups baking soda, 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Slowly add water to make a thick putty. Divide into muffin tins and allow them to air dry for 24 hours.
- Dandruff – to control, massage your wet scalp with a ¼ – ½ cup of baking soda. Repeat for two weeks.
- Dentures and Retainers – to clean, soak them in 1 cup warm water, and 3 tablespoons baking soda.
- Detox – to relieve aches and pains, mix 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a warm tub of water.
- Face Scrub – for a soft, smooth face, make a paste using 1 part baking soda, 2 parts ground oatmeal, and water. Gently rub your face with the paste, leave on for a few minutes, and then rinse.
- Feet – to relieve aching feet, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water.
- Hair – to keep hair healthy, add 1 teaspoon of baking to every 6 ounces of conditioner.
- Hair – to remove chemical build up and soften, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda to 6 ounces shampoo
- Heartburn – to relieve, drink 4 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- Jellyfish Sting – to soothe pain, apply a thick paste of baking soda and water to the affected area.
- Mouthwash – to make your own, mix 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/8 teaspoon salt, a drop of two of peppermint in 1 quart of water. Gargle.
- Poison Ivy – to relieve itching, make a thin paste using water and baking soda. Gently apply to the affected area.
- Skin – to exfoliate, make a paste using 3 parts baking soda and one part water. Gently apply with your fingers using a circular motion, rinse
- Skin – to soften, add 1 cup of baking soda to your bathwater.
- Splinter – to remove, soak the affected area in a small glass of water containing 1 tablespoon baking soda. Repeat twice a day until the splinter works its way out.
- Split Ends – to resist, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 6 ounces of conditioner.
- Stuffy Nose – to clear, add 1 teaspoon to the vaporizer.
- Sunburn – to relieve pain, make a thin paste using water and baking soda. Gently apply to the burned area.
- Sunburn – to relieve pain, soak in a bathtub full of lukewarm water and a ½ cup baking soda. Air dry.
- Teeth – to clean, make a paste using baking soda and peroxide.
- Teeth – to whiten, mix ½ teaspoon baking soda with 1 crushed, ripe strawberry. Apply the mixture to your teeth and allow it to remain for 5 minutes. Brush teeth and rinse.
- Ulcer – to relieve pain, dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in 1 cup water and drink.
- Wind burns – to relieve, apply a thin paste of baking soda and water to the area.
- Baking Powder – to make your own, sift together 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 parts cream of tartar.
- Beans – to make them more digestible, soak dried beans in a solution of 4 cups water and ½ cup baking soda.
- Chicken – to easily remove feathers and clean, boil the chicken in a pot of water mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda.
- Eggs – to make fluffier, add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to three eggs.
- Fish – to reduce the fishy smell, soak raw fish in 2 cups water and ¼ cup baking soda for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Fruits & Vegetables – to clean, wash them in a sink of water mixed with 1 cup of baking soda.
- Meat – to tenderize, rub the meat with baking soda and allow it to sit for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Rinse before cooking.
- Sports Drinks – to make your own, dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking, 1 teaspoon of salt, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 package of Kool-Aid in 2 quarts of warm water. Cool and drink to replace electrolytes which help you to absorb more water.
- Tea – to eliminate bitterness and cloudiness, add a pinch of baking soda to a gallon of freshly brewed tea.
- Tomatoes – to reduce acid, sprinkle them with a pinch of baking soda.
- Wild Game – to reduce the gamey flavor, soak it in a solution of 4 cups water and ½ cup baking soda.
- Baby Bottles – to clean and deodorize, wash bottles in a sink full of hot water, and ½ cup baking soda.
- Cast Iron – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub with a rag. Rinse and season.
- Coffee Maker – to clean, add ¼ cup baking soda to a pot of water. Run the water through a complete brewing cycle.
- Coffee Stains – to remove from mugs, sprinkle baking soda and fill with hot water. Let it soak until the water is cool. Empty and sprinkle with a little more baking soda and scrub clean.
- Dish clothes – to remove the smell, soak dish clothes in 2 cups water, and 1 cup baking soda.
- Dishwasher – to clean and deodorize, sprinkle the bottom with 1 cup baking soda, and run it through a full cycle using hot water. Then leave the door open for a few hours to dry out.
- Dishwasher – for cleaner dishes, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your dishwasher.
- Food Storage Containers – to remove odors, sprinkle with baking soda and allow them to sit covered for 24-48
hours. Wash in a sink of water mixed with ½ cup baking soda.
- Hands – to remove odors, wash hands with baking soda.
- Oven – to clean, mix 1 cup warm water, and 1 tablespoon baking soda scrub the inside of the oven, and rinse clean.
- Pots & Pans – to remove burnt-on food, fill the pan with water, and ¼ cup baking soda. Boil for 10-15 minutes and wash clean.
- Pots & Pans – to remove grease, scrub pans with baking soda.
- Refrigerator – to clean and deodorize, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups water and ¼ cup baking soda.
- Refrigerator – to remove odors, place an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator.
- Stove – to clean a glass top stove, make a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the mixture to the stovetop scrubbing away the mess. Rinse with clean water.
- Combs & Brushes – to clean, soak them in a solution made of 4 cups hot water and ½ cup baking soda. Soak for 1-2 hours then rinse clean.
- Drains – to keep them flowing freely and smelling fresh, clean them every other month.
- Drains – to unclog, remove as much of the standing water as possible. Pour 1 cup baking soda into the drain then pour 1 cup hot vinegar. Allow it to do its magic for 10-15 minutes and then run the hot water for a few minutes.
- Shower Curtains – to clean and remove mildew, soak them in 1-gallon warm water, and 1 cup baking soda. Allow them to soak overnight, rinse, and hang to dry.
- Sinks, tubs, and showers – to scrub, mix ¼ cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap. Use as you would any scouring powder.
- Toilet – to clean and absorb odors, add a cup of baking soda to the bowl and let it sit for an hour. Clean with a toilet brush and flush.
- Toothbrushes – to clean, soak overnight in a mixture of ¼ cup water and ¼ cup baking soda. Rinse.
- Detergent – learn to make your own.
- Diapers – to clean and deodorize, add ½ cup of baking soda to the washer.
- Diaper Pail – to deodorize, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
- Laundry – to boost your detergent’s cleaning power and brighten clothes, add 1/4 cup to your wash.
- Line Drying – to keep clothes from being stiff, add baking soda to your washer.
- Air Freshener – to make your own, mix a cup of baking soda with a few drops of essential oil. Place mixture in a small bowl.
- Carpets – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda, and gently brush it in. Allow it to sit overnight then vacuum.
- Chrome – to polish, make a paste using baking soda and water. Buff with paste and rinse clean.
- Fireplace – to freshen, remove ashes then place a container of baking soda in the fireplace.
- Floors – to brighten and clean, in a bucket of warm water dissolve ½ cup baking soda. Rinse.
- Garbage Cans – to clean, make a thin paste using baking soda and water. Scrub the garbage can and rinse.
- Garbage Cans – to deodorize, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom.
- Hamper – to freshen, sprinkle the bottom with baking soda.
- Marble – to clean, make a cleaning solution using 4 cups warm water and 3 tablespoons baking soda. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
- Rugs – to freshen, sprinkle with baking soda, let sit overnight. Shake.
- Shoes – to clean, make a thin paste using baking soda and water. Rub the paste on the shoe with a clean cloth. Rinse.
- Silver – to clean smooth surface silver, place the silver in an aluminum foil pan, add enough boiling water to cover the silver, and 4-5 tablespoons baking soda. Let it sit for 1-2 hours. Rinse and polish with a clean dry cloth.
- Silver – to shine, mix 3 parts baking soda with one part water. Buff silver with the paste and rinse.
- Stainless Steel – to polish and clean, make a paste using baking soda and water. Buff with paste and rinse clean.
- Upholstery – to clean, sprinkle with baking soda, and gently brush it in. Allow it to sit overnight, then vacuum.
- Vacuum Cleaner – to freshen, vacuum up a ½ cup of baking soda.
- Water Rings – to remove from wood furniture, make a paste using baking soda and toothpaste (not the gel kind). Using a soft cloth dipped in the mixture rub the spot.
- Concrete – to clean off grease, sprinkle on the spot and scrub using a hard bristle brush. Rinse clean. Repeat as needed.
- Grills – to clean, sprinkle a damp brush with baking soda, scrub, allow to sit for 24 hours, and rinse.
- Patio Cushions – to store for winter, place cushions in a large plastic bag, and sprinkle with baking soda. Seal bag and store.
- Sidewalks – to remove ice, sprinkle with baking soda.
- Sidewalks and Driveways – to remove weeds from the cracks, sprinkle the baking soda.
- Flowers – to keep cut flowers fresh, add 1 teaspoon to the water.
- Gardens – to keep rabbits out, sprinkle garden beds with baking soda.
- Tomatoes – to sweeten, sprinkle baking soda on the soil around the plants.
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- Dogs – to deodorize fur, brush their coat with baking soda.
- Dogs & Cats – to clean their teeth, dip a damp toothbrush into baking soda and brush away the tarter.
- Dogs & Cats – to deter bugs from getting into their food bowls, sprinkle baking soda around their bowls.
- Litter Box – to absorb odor, sprinkle the litter with baking soda.
- Skunk – to remove odors, bathe in a tub of warm water, and 2 cups baking soda.
- Skunk – to remove odors from clothing, soak the clothing in a bucket of warm water, and 1 cup of baking soda.
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- Balloons – to blow up, fill about ½ of a balloon with baking using a funnel. Fill about 1/3 of a water bottle (16.9oz) with vinegar. Carefully cover the top of the bottle with the balloon making sure not to spill the baking soda into the bottle. Lift the balloon to pour the baking soda into the vinegar.
- Clay – to make your own, mix 1 cup cornstarch, 2 cups baking soda, and 1 ¼ cups water. Knead until well mixed.
- Cradle Cap – to loosen and remove, wash infants’ hair/scalp with a watery mixture of baking soda and water.
- Diaper Rash – to relieve rash, put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in their bathwater.
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